Page 50 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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44
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
At the beginning a modest effort was made to acquire for t
Library only reference tools, standard classic works, importa
grammars, sets of periodicals, and a select number of current pu
lications. It soon became evident that the scope had to be e
larged. Constant demands by students and faculty members ma
it imperative to undertake larger and bolder acquisitions. It w
felt that the only solution would be in bulk buying, preferab
from private sources. In 1959 the Library acquired the first priva
collection, consisting of about three hundred titles of old a
modern Hebraica. This was soon followed by a purchase of a si
able Judaica collection, mostly dissertations from European ins
tutions, followed later by additional collections of Hebraica
Judaica.
During the years 1959-62 the Library acquired about half
dozen private collections each ranging between three hundr
and three thousand volumes. In addition to the purchases of p
vate collections, the Library continued its accelerated acquisitio
program of individual items from antiquarian lists and fro
publishers announcements. The net result was that by the e
of 1962 the Jewish Studies Collection numbered close to t
thousand volumes.
The Theodore E. Cummings Collecti
Remarkable as was this achievement it still fell short of satisf
ing the proliferating demands of the faculty and student bo
of the Hebrew division. It seemed as if the Collection wou
never catch up with the unprecedented expansion of the Depa
ment. From one professor in the Hebrew program in 1956, it h
grown to four full-time and three part-time professors of Hebre
and more expansion was inevitable2. It was then decided th
the Library should explore the possibility of acquiring a lar
and well-rounded Hebraica and Judaica collection as a maj
step in solving its deficiency. This was easier said than don
Large private libraries of this nature appear only rarely. For a fe
years the Library instituted a zealous search, but nothing wort
while materialized. Happily, opportunity unexpectedly knock
at the door.
Professor Arnold Band, a faculty member on Sabbatical lea
in Jerusalem, learned that the world-renowned antiquarian bo
3 Since then the Department has grown again, with five full-time and
part-time professors in the Hebrew program. The University’s History Depa
ment now employs a full-time professor for Jewish history, and the Law Scho
is contemplating a chair for Jewish law. The Hebrew division now offe
among others a course in Jewish Bibliography and Research Methods, co
ducted by this writer.